Camilla heads to Aberdeen to give Princess Anne her honorary doctorate

Today Camilla – or The Duchess of Rothesay as she is known in Scotland – conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws to her sister in law, The Princess Royal, during a graduation ceremony.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who is Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, was joined by Prince Charles’ only sister at the event.

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The Duchess of Rothesay and Princess Anne arrive at the University of Edinburgh for a graduation ceremony, in which Anne received an honorary doctorate (Uni of Aberdeen)

The award for Princess Anne is in recognition of her more than 50 years of contribution to public life, and her work with 300 charities, organisations and military regiments across the UK, as well as overseas. One of them is Save the Children, working as the charity president for 46 years, The Princess Royal visited numerous projects in China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Botswana and Madagascar.

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At the ceremony, Professor Janet Darbyshire CBE also received an honorary degree in recognition of her 40 years of work in clinical sciences. During her time as director of the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit, her studies of HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases improved their prevention and treatment.

Anne crossed the stage to Camilla, who was sitting in the rather grand Chancellor’s chair, and was touched with a velvet cap on her head to confer the award, also known as being capped – as the Duchess said ‘et te creo’, translating to ‘and I create’ – before being given a red and white robe.

Duchess Camilla gives Princess Anne her honorary doctorate, touching her with a velvet cap. (Still via Royal Family channel video)

Princess Anne is given her doctoral award at the University of Aberdeen (Still via Royal Family channel video)

The Princess Royal gave a short speech to mark the occasion, calling it a ‘real honour’ to be given the honorary doctorate, and also paid tribute to fellow honorary degree recipient Professor Janet Darbyshire, who the Princess said she had met through Save the Children.


Denis Law Legacy Trust was also presented with a special principal’s award for outstanding service to the community. Through its Streetsport project, the organisation provides free outreach projects to children and young people.

During his speech, Professor George Boyne, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Honorary degrees and special awards are our way of acknowledging people who have made exceptional contributions to the service of others and I am delighted we are recognising The Princess Royal, Professor Janet Darbyshire and the Denis Law Legacy Trust in this way.”

In her own speech, The Duchess of Rothesay joked about Princess Anne also being a university chancellor: “I am not sure if there is a collective noun for Chancellors, but my sister-in-law is, of course, also Chancellor of another great Scottish university: the University of Edinburgh. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we shall have no talk of rivalry today. But I might just casually observe that, while we are to celebrate our 525th birthday next month, the University of Edinburgh is comparatively youthful. A mere 437 years old…”

Adding: “I trust that, in your anniversary year, there will be someone graduating who will become the second graduate of this University to feature on the currency of the realm! Your Royal Highness, I should reassure you that on the back of the Scottish five-pound note are words from the poet Sorley MacLean – a graduate of the University of Edinburgh.”

The usual student graduations followed.

Following the ceremony, the Royals attended a reception in a marquee at the university, to celebrate the occasion with other graduands.

Later on, The Duchess of Rothesay formally opened Banchory Sports Village, a new state-of-the-art facility from Aberdeenshire Council supported by community fundraising. The Duchess toured the facilities and met community users taking part in various activities around the centre.

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